Ho ho ho! My publisher’s rabbit interviews my fictional character. It doesn’t get much stranger- or funnier- than this!
THURSDAY, 6 DECEMBER 2012
The BunsyDawg Christmas interviews: Kjartan from the Ragnar series
[Preliminary in which Kjartan glares at BunsyDawg and calls him a ‘disreputable rabbit’]
Kjartan, I have seen your picture on your book cover and you are so pretty – almost as beautiful as I am. Do you have any rabbit in your genes?
Well I certainly have a lot of sex with a lot of people so maybe I have some rabbit genes (despite the fact that I’ve never seen a rabbit as they didn’t live in Britain in the tenth century).
Anyway, that man on the book cover isn’t me! I’m much better looking than that.
[Shakes his plaited hair proudly]
Kjartan is a strange name. It’s Danish, isn’t it? Is it like Kjartan of milk? You aren’t related to the Danish Tetrapak empire are you [sits up and shows interest]?
How dare you insult my name!
[Draws his sword Verrdrepa – ‘mankiller’]
I am from a long line of fierce warriors and I won’t hesitate to defend my honour!
[Snarls but seeing BunsyDawg shaking with fear, he relents]
But if you mean Erik Tetrapaksson, son of Tetrapak Olafsson, the Dairy Farmer, in that case I might be.
You are a big, hunky warrior but – how do I put this delicately? – a sword is not the only thing you like to stick into other men. Is it a domination thing, or an irresistible urge thing or simply a buttock fetish? You are can answer me honestly. You are talking to a rabbit.
Is this a normal question for you people from the future? We don’t talk about such matters in my time, but you needn’t worry about my treatment of Lini. I haven’t beaten him in a fight or made a slave of him.
If you’re insulting him, I’m happy to fight you in his place!
[Glares at BunsyDawg]
You live side-by-side, so to speak, with the English. What is the difference between a Dane and an Englishman, and I don’t mean just in the bacon department?
The English have different habits. They only bathe every few months. Can you imagine? They don’t even wash or comb their hair or shave every day.
We Danes comb our hair daily, shave our beards so they are neat, and bathe every week at our special bathing lake. Well, me and Lini used to bathe there when we lived in the Danish village. They won’t let us now. We have to bathe in the river instead.
But anyway, the English are much more cowardly and dishonourable than we Danes- er-
[Remembers that he now lives in the English village]
Well, that’s what I thought ’til we moved here, but actually they’re less prejudiced than the Danes. They are so pleased that Lini makes all the glass for their windows and I train them in fighting skills, they overlook the fact we live together in unholy matrimony.
You have been a bit of a bad lad in the past even before your excursions on the wild side. Is it more fun to be the villain than the good guy?
Yes. I can’t see me living the quiet life in Byrnham for long, but I’m more likely to fight on the side of good in the future. I don’t want to end up like I did before, living in brothels, not being clean or having any money. Although, living in brothels was quite fun.
[Gazes into distance wistfully]
Have you now retired as a literary hero, anti-hero, whatever, or will you rise again? Are there any other surprising aspects to your nature?
Oh, you won’t get rid of me. I have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of the wolfmen, and Ragnar has a lot of secrets in his past which may emerge. I will be called on to help out somewhere, and between you and me, Ragnar does get sick of Bjarni’s slow wittedness.
[Suddenly remembers Bjarni saved his life once]
Although Bjarni’s twice as pretty as me.
Finally, what shampoo do you use? I use rabbit shampoo, but mostly on my ass. Do you have any recommendations for me to have hair as silky, bouncy and flouncy as yours?
Shampoo? What is that? Do you mean soap? I just wash my hair in water with a bit of homemade soap that Lini’s wife makes.
What is the meaning of ‘silky, bouncy and flouncy’? Are you insulting me?
[Glares at him and draws the sword Verrdrepa again. BunsyDawg realises he’s pushed his luck too far and lollops away, chased by the angry Kjartan who thinks a nice rabbit stew would be just right for tonight’s dinner]